Proteomic analysis uncovers novel actions of the neurosecretory protein VGF in nociceptive processing.
ABSTRACT: Peripheral tissue injury is associated with changes in protein expression in sensory neurons that may contribute to abnormal nociceptive processing. We used cultured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons as a model of axotomized neurons to investigate early changes in protein expression after nerve injury. Comparing protein levels immediately after DRG dissociation and 24 h later by proteomic differential expression analysis, we found a substantial increase in the levels of the neurotrophin-inducible protein VGF (nonacronymic), a putative neuropeptide precursor. In a rodent model of nerve injury, VGF levels were increased within 24 h in both injured and uninjured DRG neurons, and the increase persisted for at least 7 d. VGF was also upregulated 24 h after hindpaw inflammation. To determine whether peptides derived from proteolytic processing of VGF participate in nociceptive signaling, we examined the spinal effects of AQEE-30 and LQEQ-19, potential proteolytic products shown previously to be bioactive. Each peptide evoked dose-dependent thermal hyperalgesia that required activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase p38. In addition, LQEQ-19 induced p38 phosphorylation in spinal microglia when injected intrathecally and in the BV-2 microglial cell line when applied in vitro. In summary, our results demonstrate rapid upregulation of VGF in sensory neurons after nerve injury and inflammation and activation of microglial p38 by VGF peptides. Therefore, VGF peptides released from sensory neurons may participate in activation of spinal microglia after peripheral tissue injury.
Project description:VGF (nonacronymic) is a granin-like protein that is packaged and proteolytically processed within the regulated secretory pathway. VGF and peptides derived from its processing have been implicated in neuroplasticity associated with learning, memory, depression, and chronic pain. In sensory neurons, VGF is rapidly increased following peripheral nerve injury and inflammation. Several bioactive peptides generated from the C-terminus of VGF have pronociceptive spinal effects. The goal of the present study was to examine the spinal effects of the peptide TLQP-21 and determine whether it participates in spinal mechanisms of persistent pain. Application of exogenous TLQP-21 induced dose-dependent thermal hyperalgesia in the warm-water immersion tail-withdrawal test. This hyperalgesia was inhibited by a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor, as well as inhibitors of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. We used immunoneutralization of TLQP-21 to determine the function of the endogenous peptide in mechanisms underlying persistent pain. In mice injected intradermally with complete Freund adjuvant, intrathecal treatment with anti-TLQP-21 immediately prior to or 5hours after induction of inflammation dose-dependently inhibited tactile hypersensitivity and thermal hyperalgesia. Intrathecal anti-TL21 administration also attenuated the development and maintenance of tactile hypersensitivity in the spared nerve injury model of neuropathic pain. These results provide evidence that endogenous TLQP-21 peptide contributes to the mechanisms of spinal neuroplasticity after inflammation and nerve injury.
Project description:The sensory neuron-specific sodium channel Na(v)1.8 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase are potential therapeutic targets within nociceptive dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in inflammatory, and possibly neuropathic, pain. Na(v)1.8 channels within nociceptive DRG neurons contribute most of the inward current underlying the depolarizing phase of action potentials. Nerve injury and inflammation of peripheral tissues cause p38 activation in DRG neurons, a process that may contribute to nociceptive neuron hyperexcitability, which is associated with pain. However, how substrates of activated p38 contribute to DRG neuron hyperexcitability is currently not well understood. We report here, for the first time, that Na(v)1.8 and p38 are colocalized in DRG neurons, that Na(v)1.8 within DRG neurons is a substrate for p38, and that direct phosphorylation of the Na(v)1.8 channel by p38 regulates its function in these neurons. We show that direct phosphorylation of Na(v)1.8 at two p38 phospho-acceptor serine residues on the L1 loop (S551 and S556) causes an increase in Na(v)1.8 current density that is not accompanied by changes in gating properties of the channel. Our study suggests a mechanism by which activated p38 contributes to inflammatory, and possibly neuropathic, pain through a p38-mediated increase of Na(v)1.8 current density.
Project description:High voltage-activated calcium channels (HVACCs) are essential for synaptic and nociceptive transmission. Although blocking HVACCs can effectively reduce pain, this treatment strategy is associated with intolerable adverse effects. Neuronal HVACCs are typically composed of ?(1), ? (Cav?), and ?(2)? subunits. The Cav? subunit plays a crucial role in the membrane expression and gating properties of the pore-forming ?(1) subunit. However, little is known about how nerve injury affects the expression and function of Cav? subunits in primary sensory neurons. In this study, we found that Cav?(3) and Cav?(4) are the most prominent subtypes expressed in the rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and dorsal spinal cord. Spinal nerve ligation (SNL) in rats significantly increased mRNA and protein levels of the Cav?(3), but not Cav?(4), subunit in the DRG. SNL also significantly increased HVACC currents in small DRG neurons and monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic currents of spinal dorsal horn neurons evoked from the dorsal root. Intrathecal injection of Cav?(3)-specific siRNA significantly reduced HVACC currents in small DRG neurons and the amplitude of monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic currents of dorsal horn neurons in SNL rats. Furthermore, intrathecal treatment with Cav?(3)-specific siRNA normalized mechanical hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia caused by SNL but had no significant effect on the normal nociceptive threshold. Our findings provide novel evidence that increased expression of the Cav?(3) subunit augments HVACC activity in primary sensory neurons and nociceptive input to dorsal horn neurons in neuropathic pain. Targeting the Cav?(3) subunit at the spinal level represents an effective strategy for treating neuropathic pain.
Project description:Ecto-5'-nucleotidase (NT5E, CD73) is a membrane-anchored protein that hydrolyzes extracellular adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP) to adenosine in diverse tissues but has not been directly studied in nociceptive neurons. We found that NT5E was located on peptidergic and nonpeptidergic nociceptive neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and on axon terminals in lamina II (the substantia gelatinosa) of spinal cord. NT5E was also located on epidermal keratinocytes, cells of the dermis, and on nociceptive axon terminals in the epidermis. Following nerve injury, NT5E protein and AMP histochemical staining were coordinately reduced in lamina II. In addition, AMP hydrolytic activity was reduced in DRG neurons and spinal cord of Nt5e(-/-) mice. The antinociceptive effects of AMP, when combined with the adenosine kinase inhibitor 5-iodotubericidin, were reduced by approximately 50% in Nt5e(-/-) mice and were eliminated in Adenosine A(1) receptor (A(1)R, Adora1) knock-out mice. Additionally, Nt5e(-/-) mice displayed enhanced sensitivity in the tail immersion assay, in the complete Freund's adjuvant model of inflammatory pain and in the spared nerve injury model of neuropathic pain. Collectively, our data indicate that the ectonucleotidase NT5E regulates nociception by hydrolyzing AMP to adenosine in nociceptive circuits and represents a new molecular target for the treatment of chronic pain. Moreover, our data suggest NT5E is well localized to regulate nucleotide signaling between skin cells and sensory axons.
Project description:G?i-interacting protein (GINIP) is expressed specifically in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and functions in modulation of peripheral gamma-aminobutyric acid B receptor (GBR). Genetic deletion of GINIP leads to impaired responsiveness to GBR agonist-mediated analgesia in rodent. It is, however, not defined whether nerve injury changes GINIP expression.Immunolabeling with validated antibody revealed GINIP expression in ~40% of total lumbar DRG neurons in normal adult rats. GINIP immunoreactivity was detected in ~80% of IB4-positive (nonpeptidergic) and ~30% of CGRP-positive (peptidergic) neurons. GINIP immunoreactivity in the spinal cord dorsal horn was colabeled with IB4 and partially with CGRP. In addition, GINIP was expressed in DRG neurons immunopositive for GBR1, GBR2, G?i(s), and G?o and was also extensively colabeled with multiple nociceptive neuronal markers, including Trpv1, NaV1.7, CaV2.2?1b, CaV3.2?1b, TrkA, and Trek2. Peripheral nerve injury by L5 spinal nerve ligation significantly decreased the proportion of GINIP immunoreactivity-positive neurons from 40 ± 8.4% to 0.8 ± 0.1% (p < 0.01, mean ± SD, four weeks after spinal nerve ligation) and the total GINIP protein to 1.3% ± 0.04% of its basal level (p < 0.01, n = 6 animals in each group, two weeks after spinal nerve ligation) in the ipsilateral L5 DRGs.Our results show that GINIP is predominantly expressed by small nonpeptidergic nociceptive neurons and that nerve injury triggers loss of GINIP expression. Signal transduction roles of GINIP may be diverse as it colabeled with various subgroups of nociceptive neurons. Future studies may investigate details of the signaling mechanism engaged by GINIP, as well as the pathophysiological significance of lost expression of GINIP in neuropathic pain.
Project description:The role of the neurotrophin regulated polypeptide, VGF, has been investigated in a rat spared injury model of neuropathic pain. This peptide has been shown to be associated with synaptic strengthening and learning in the hippocampus and while it is known that VGFmRNA is upregulated in dorsal root ganglia following peripheral nerve injury, the role of this VGF peptide in neuropathic pain has yet to be investigated.Prolonged upregulation of VGF mRNA and protein was observed in injured dorsal root ganglion neurons, central terminals and their target dorsal horn neurons. Intrathecal application of TLQP-62, the C-terminal active portion of VGF (5-50 nmol) to naïve rats caused a long-lasting mechanical and cold behavioral allodynia. Direct actions of 50 nM TLQP-62 upon dorsal horn neuron excitability was demonstrated in whole cell patch recordings in spinal cord slices and in receptive field analysis in intact, anesthetized rats where significant actions of VGF were upon spontaneous activity and cold evoked responses.VGF expression is therefore highly modulated in nociceptive pathways following peripheral nerve injury and can cause dorsal horn cell excitation and behavioral hypersensitivity in naïve animals. Together the results point to a novel and powerful role for VGF in neuropathic pain.
Project description:Delivering gene constructs into the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) is a powerful but challenging therapeutic strategy for sensory disorders affecting the DRG and their peripheral processes. The current delivery methods of direct intra-DRG injection and intrathecal injection have several disadvantages, including potential injury to DRG neurons and low transfection efficiency, respectively. This study aimed to develop a spinal nerve injection strategy to deliver polyethylenimine mixed with plasmid (PEI/DNA polyplexes) containing green fluorescent protein (GFP). Using this spinal nerve injection approach, PEI/DNA polyplexes were delivered to DRG neurons without nerve injury. Within one week of the delivery, GFP expression was detected in 82.8%?±?1.70% of DRG neurons, comparable to the levels obtained by intra-DRG injection (81.3%?±?5.1%, p?=?0.82) but much higher than those obtained by intrathecal injection. The degree of GFP expression by neurofilament(+) and peripherin(+) DRG neurons was similar. The safety of this approach was documented by the absence of injury marker expression, including activation transcription factor 3 and ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 for neurons and glia, respectively, as well as the absence of behavioral changes. These results demonstrated the efficacy and safety of delivering PEI/DNA polyplexes to DRG neurons via spinal nerve injection.
Project description:Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition that occurs frequently after nerve injury and induces hypersensitivity or allodynia characterized by aberrant neuronal excitability in the spinal cord dorsal horn. Fibronectin leucine-rich transmembrane protein 3 (FLRT3) is a modulator of neurite outgrowth, axon pathfinding, and cell adhesion, which is upregulated in the dorsal horn following peripheral nerve injury. However, the function of FLRT3 in adults remains unknown. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the involvement of spinal FLRT3 in neuropathic pain using rodent models. In the dorsal horns of male rats, FLRT3 protein levels increased at day 4 after peripheral nerve injury. In the DRG, FLRT3 was expressed in activating transcription factor 3-positive, injured sensory neurons. Peripheral nerve injury stimulated Flrt3 transcription in the DRG but not in the spinal cord. Intrathecal administration of FLRT3 protein to naive rats induced mechanical allodynia and GluN2B phosphorylation in the spinal cord. DRG-specific FLRT3 overexpression using adeno-associated virus also produced mechanical allodynia. Conversely, a function-blocking FLRT3 antibody attenuated mechanical allodynia after partial sciatic nerve ligation. Therefore, FLRT3 derived from injured DRG neurons increases dorsal horn excitability and induces mechanical allodynia.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Neuropathic pain occurs frequently after nerve injury and is associated with abnormal neuronal excitability in the spinal cord. Fibronectin leucine-rich transmembrane protein 3 (FLRT3) regulates neurite outgrowth and cell adhesion. Here, nerve injury increased FLRT3 protein levels in the spinal cord dorsal root, despite the fact that Flrt3 transcripts were only induced in the DRG. FLRT3 protein injection into the rat spinal cord induced mechanical hypersensitivity, as did virus-mediated FLRT3 overexpression in DRG. Conversely, FLRT3 inhibition with antibodies attenuated mechanically induced pain after nerve damage. These findings suggest that FLRT3 is produced by injured DRG neurons and increases neuronal excitability in the dorsal horn, leading to pain sensitization. Neuropathic pain induction is a novel function of FLRT3.
Project description:Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons provide connectivity between peripheral tissues and spinal cord. Transcriptional plasticity within DRG sensory neurons after peripheral nerve injury contributes to nerve repair but also leads to maladaptive plasticity, including the development of neuropathic pain. This study presents tissue and neuron specific expression profiling of both known and novel Long Non-Coding RNAs (LncRNAs) in rodent DRG following nerve injury. We have identified a large number of novel LncRNAs expressed within rodent DRG, a minority of which were syntenically conserved between mouse and rat and which including both- intergenic and antisense LncRNAs. We have also identified neuron type-specific LncRNAs in mouse DRG, and LncRNAs that are expressed in human IPS cell-derived sensory neurons. We show significant plasticity in LncRNA expression following nerve injury, which in mouse is strain dependant. This resource is publicly available and will aid future studies of DRG neuron identity and the transcriptional landscape in both naïve and injured DRG. Overall design: RNA-seq Illumina HiSeq4000 of IPSC and IPS derived sensory neurons
Project description:In a recent clinical report, return of the tendon stretch reflex was demonstrated after spinal cord surgery in a case of total traumatic brachial plexus avulsion injury. Peripheral nerve grafts had been implanted into the spinal cord to reconnect to the peripheral nerves for motor and sensory function. The dorsal root ganglia (DRG) containing the primary sensory nerve cells had been surgically removed in order for secondary or spinal cord sensory neurons to extend into the periphery and replace the deleted DRG neurons. The present experimental study uses a rat injury model first to corroborate the clinical finding of a re-established spinal reflex arch, and second, to elucidate some of the potential mechanisms underlying these findings by means of morphological, immunohistochemical, and electrophysiological assessments. Our findings indicate that, after spinal cord surgery, the central nervous system sensory system could replace the traumatically detached original peripheral sensory connections through new neurite growth from dendrites.